REVIEW: Not so “elementary, my dear Watson”…

So, whilst on the plane to Florida, I had a lot of time to read, write etc (I wrote this post whilst on the plane, in fact. So much free time!). But it was to my surprise and glee that the airline offered in-flight entertainment. This involved Games, Movies, TV shows, and other interesting features.

I avoided films, purely for the fact that a movie would interest me but I wouldn’t be bothered to wait 2 hours or so to finish it. (I wouldn’t say I have a low attention span, but a movie needs to be really good for it to be worth watching).

I also played some games. Mostly Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Chess, and Battleships. However, the touch screen became very frustrating so I gave up. In a last ditch attempt, I browsed the TV section.

Most of the dramas and shows on offer were not to my taste. If not that, they were episodes from half way through a series. For example, Game of Thrones is a drama I have been longing to watch for a while after all the good reviews, however, the entertainment system only offered Series 3, which wasn’t really that helpful…

I kept on searching until, to my joy, I found the programme Elementary. For those who don’t know, Elementary is an American take on the Sherlock Holmes character, and is based on a modern day Sherlock Holmes. This version is an American take on the famous sleuth, and sees the detective move to America, and Dr. Watson being played by a woman, with Watson’s first name being cleverly changed to a similar-sounding Joan Watson.

When I first heard about it, I was a bit disappointed with the fact John is played by a woman in this version. However, I was willing to give the show a chance, and so pressed play.

Sherlock, in this adaptation, is played by Jonny Lee Miller. I have to say, after watching the 45 minute episode, he cleverly portrayed some of Sherlock’s key characteristics: insociability, unawareness of other people’s feelings, and using his deductions to often confuse Doctor Watson. Throughout, he does a good job of portraying the way in which Sherlock handles his cases.

Lucy Liu plays the female version of Sherlock’s “companion” (the term used in the drama, but it is debatable, as Sherlock refers to Watson as his “personal valet”. Not to mention in the English version, Sherlock, John is referred to as his “colleague”.). However, rather than Joan having the background of being an army doctor, Joan has the background of being a former surgeon. However, both in Sherlock and Elementary, Watson’s personal life is explored by Sherlock. Both include situations involving mobile phones, and both include Sherlock making an error.

But the disappointment comes with Watson’s story. There isn’t really much development, nor is there much involvement in the plot, just some sub-plots. However, in the first episode of Sherlock, Watson near enough saves Sherlock’s life by dealing with the villain, in this, there is nothing more than a revelation that she was a bit of a bad surgeon…Bit of a contrast…

As well as that, I was saddened to find out that, unlike Sherlock, no secondary characters were introduced. Sherlock sees the introduction of Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, and cleverly makes the audience presume it is Moriarty. However, in this episode, there is no reference to either…

But having said that, the first Sherlock Holmes book (A Study in Scarlet) doesn’t feature Mycroft or Moriarty, so I suppose they were trying to stick to the book. But it could be argued that they didn’t stick to the book at all. The case included in Elementary in no way matches that in the books and in the Sherlock drama, however, it is a good plot for the episode either way.

A good point I picked up on was that by having Watson being a woman, it can increase the chances of Watson and Sherlock being in a relationship. I have only watched the first episode so don’t know if it happens in future episodes, but it would be good for the development of Sherlock and Watson’s friendship.

But overall, it was OK. The plot was interesting, but the sub-plots of Watson and Holmes were small, and so didn’t make it very interesting, but I still enjoyed it. I would probably watch another episode, but sadly I don’t think I will be able to (I might not have the TV channel that shows it).

Also, side note, I presumed Elementary got it’s name from the famous quote Sherlock is apparently rumoured to have said: “Elementary, my dear Watson.”. It’s a good name, but it has been found that in the books Sherlock never said the sentence, and so has become a common idea we associate with the detective, but isn’t true. This disappointed me in a way, but I did enjoy it.

And woah, that was a long post! I need to do more long posts like this if they get a lot of views! I will have to take note…

Liam

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